Endangered moon bears rescued from northern Vietnam farm

By Ngoc Thanh   April 21, 2020 | 06:06 am PT
Endangered moon bears rescued from northern Vietnam farm
A moon bear that has been rescued from a farm in Nam Dinh Province and moved to Vietnam Bear Rescue Center in Vinh Phuc Province on April 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Three endangered moon bears were taken to a bear rehabilitation center in Vinh Phuc Province Tuesday, following their rescue from a Nam Dinh farm.

The bears, all aged under 10, were raised on a farm in Hai Xuan Commune, Hai Hau District, Nam Dinh Province. The farm initially had four bears, but one of them died, said the Nam Dinh Forest Department.

The bears were voluntarily handed over to the government by the farm owner last month, and temporarily placed under the care of local forest rangers.

Due to the nationwide social distancing campaign launched over the Covid-19 pandemic, the bears could only be taken to the Vietnam Bear Rescue Center in Vinh Phuc, about 140 km to the northwest of Nam Dinh, after April 15.

The bears were transported Tuesday morning by animal welfare charity organization Animals Asia. The bears were in stable health, said Shaun Thompson, Senior Veterinary Surgeon with Animals Asia.

The bears would undergo a 45-day quarantine at the center, having their health checked and existing diseases treated.

Vietnam is home to both the moon bear and the sun bear, species listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The country currently has over 600 bears kept in farms, and only a few hundred roaming in the wild, it has been reported. Many bears are kept in cages to extract their bile, believed to be a remedy for various ailments.

Although commercial bear bile extraction was banned in 2005, farms already having the animals were allowed to keep them.

Under current Vietnamese law, violation of wildlife protection regulations is punishable by up to seven years in jail.

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